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14th Oct, 2016 | 2:25pm

Benitez drops Newcastle selection hint ahead of Brentford clash

By Will Butcher

Rafa Benitez could be tempted to start striker Aleksander Mitrovic against Brentford, after praising the striker following an impressive international break.

The Toon’s number 45 struck twice for his country as they secured a priceless 3-2 win over Group D rivals Austria, as Mitrovic scored a convincing first-half double.

Speaking ahead of Newcastle’s Championship clash on Saturday, Benitez was quoted by the Toon’s official Twitter account as saying he was “pleased” with Mitrovic and believes he is “really focused.”

Mitrovic has found it difficult to gain a regular starting spot in Rafa Benitez’s first 11 this season, with in-form Dwight Gayle being chosen ahead of Mitrovic and new signing Daryl Murphy.

The former Anderlecht star has made just two starts all season for the Magpies, with one of those coming against League Two minnows Cheltenham Town in the EFL Cup.

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His solitary goal for Benitez’s side came against QPR, as Newcastle completed a 6-0 rout over Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink’s London-based outfit.

However, fans will be relieved to see that his lack of minutes has not stopped his instinct of finding the back of the net and Benitez could be tempted to use the aggressive forward against their high-flying opponents this weekend.

A win for Newcastle against Dean Smith’s side could see the Toon sit on top of the Championship pile if Norwich and Huddersfield drop points.

In other Newcastle news, Benitez has had this to say about another Magpies star ahead of the Brentford clash.